Get Norton 360 5.0 3-user for free

Well, free after rebate. But don't let that stop you from grabbing this top-rated security and system-optimization utility.


Happy 2012, everyone!

New year, new outlook. For example, while in the past I've championed freeware security tools over their pricey commercial counterparts, I'm starting to think there's something to be said for the latter--especially for less tech-savvy users. (You know who you are. :)

Expiring today, Newegg has Norton 360 5.0 3-user edition for free after a $45 mail-in rebate (PDF). That includes shipping of this boxed copy of the software.

For those unfamiliar with it, Norton 360 offers robust protection against the likes of viruses, spyware, phishing, identity theft, and rootkits.

It also provides automated backup capabilities, basic system optimization, a password manager, and parental controls. Hence the "360" in its name.

Because this comes with three licenses, you can install it on up to three PCs. And you get 24-7 live tech support for one year after installation.

CNET rated Norton 360 five stars, noting that this "massive package of security tools works better than it ever has before." Likewise, PC Magazine awarded it an Editors' Choice, stating it "has all the protective power of Norton Internet Security 2011, but with a friendlier face."

Both reviews praised the product's very low system impact, an important point for users who abandoned Symantec's resource-hog utilities 5-10 years ago. That said, I do think you need a decent amount of horsepower to keep that impact low, meaning this isn't a cure-all for old, single-core PCs running Windows XP (even though it does support that OS).

Rather, I'd pair it with a newer machine, one that has at least a dual-core processor and 4GB of RAM. Just my $.02.

Can't freeware utilities do the job? Yes, if you know what you're doing. For my friends and relatives who don't eat, sleep, and breathe computers and computer security, there's much to be said for a single, user-friendly utility that can handle just about every protection, backup, and optimization need.

Especially when that utility, normally $79.99, can be had for free.

FYI, you must make your purchase no later than today (January 2) to get the rebate, which comes in the form of a prepaid Visa card. Thoughts?

Bonus deal: Ready to get your green on in 2012? Today only, and while supplies last, Woot has the iGo Green Battery Charger with eight rechargeable AA batteries for $9.99, plus $5 for shipping. I'm a huge fan of rechargeables for things like Xbox controllers, radio-controlled toys, kids games, and other battery-munchers.

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